Secure your computer
Get security software and keep it up to date to help prevent online attacks. And don't forget to update your computer's operating system.
Is your computer's operating system up to date?
If your computer's operating system is outdated, your computer may not be fully protected. Check the websites below to see if you need to update your operating system.
You need security software
Download security software and keep it current to protect your computer. You should also monitor your computer and browser settings.
Monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity
Contact Vanguard immediately if you suspect fraud, including alerting us to "phishing" emails. Also, let us know if you've been a victim of identity theft within the past 12 months.
Protect your mobile devices
Your mobile device is a computer, albeit one you can hold in your hand. You need to take the same precautions with your device as you do with your "real" computer.
Is your device's operating system up to date?
Your smartphone runs an operating system, too. Most device manufacturers release operating system updates regularly and you need to keep your device current. Check your device's settings to see if you need to update its operating system.
Mobile devices need security software too
You may not know that you can get security software for mobile devices, but there are several reputable products available for Android™ and Apple® devices. You should also routinely update your device's apps to keep them current.
Public wi-fi networks: Convenient, but vulnerable
This advice is simple: Don't log on to any website, including checking your email, over a public wi-fi network or an unfamiliar hotspot.
Public wi-fi networks are much more vulnerable than secure networks to malicious software that can install malware on your device to capture your user name, password, and other security credentials when you go online.
Safeguard your identity online
Stay safe while surfing the internet, especially on social media websites. You should also create strong online credentials since they're one of the best lines of defense against cyber criminals.
Strengthen your online credentials
Your online security profile—typically your user name, password, and security questions and answers—can be one of your most important lines of defense on the internet.
Don't "overshare" on social media sites
Social media sites are great for keeping up with friends and networking, but they can also be a haven for criminal activity. Here's how to help stay safe while using these sites:
Understand and control your privacy settings for each site you use.
Don't share too much personal information.
Scammers can use this information to guess things like your user name, password, and answers to security questions. Plus, criminals can use that information to create personalized phishing emails that you may be more likely to respond to.
Resist the urge to post vacation pictures until you get back.
Otherwise, you're advertising that you're not home.
Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Can you spot email fraud?
Criminals often use bogus emails—commonly referred as "phishing" emails—to trick people into divulging their personal information.
Beware of software installation requests in popup windows
Be leery of any requests presented in a popup window to install software on your computer. Decline any request you didn't actively initiate and take a minute to research software packages you're considering installing.
Name a trusted contact
With elder financial exploitation costing victims nearly $3 billion a year, naming a trusted contact for your account now can help protect your assets in the future.
Even if you do a lot of business online, you still need to keep an eye on your physical mailbox.
Open all mail from Vanguard immediately.
We'll mail account activity confirmations (if you elected to receive them via U.S. mail). We'll also mail you any updates to your personal information, like an address change, to confirm the changes.
Let us know if your physical mailing address changes.
Even if you do a lot of business online, we still need to mail you certain notices and confirmations.
Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before discarding them.
Contact the Postal Service if you haven't received any U.S. mail for several days.
(Someone could be intercepting your mail.)
Have a security question?
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8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern time